twitter. reach me directly at ray suarez news. see you for the next "inside story," in washington, i'm ray suarez. >> good afternoon to you. this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm morgan radford and here are today's top stories. >> i'm here on a single mission - it thank you for your extraordinary service. [ cheering ] president obama makes a surprise visit to troops in afghanistan. and pope francis is in israel after a visit to the west bank. plus the ballots are in after month of turmoil. voters in ukraine have finally picked their new president.
the world cup is weeks away but we'll tell you why everyone isn't celebrating. president obama slipped into bagram airfield under the dark of night for a surprise visit to troops in afghanistan. he will spend the memorial day weekend visiting troops and wounded servicemen. there are 32,000 americans currently serving in afghanistan. the war there is one of the country's longest lasting and will wind down by the end of the year. joining us live is kimberley hawkin in washington right now. this visit comes as obama deals with criticism at home over the treatment of veterans seeking care at v.a. hospitals. is there a chance this surprise visit will counter the negative
press? >> reporter: it will help. there's the feeling from 32,000 soldiers in afghanistan that they'd like to be home with their families this memorial day weekend, here in person to be honoured for their service. the fact that the president made the surprise visit on the memorial day weekend had a lot of mileage. you could tell by the reaction when he gave his speech, sprinkled with local references to make them feel comfortable and appreciated. at the same time he touched on the controversy in the united states, the one that many veterans would came back after serving in afghanistan, the one where veterans coming back face long waits and broken promise from the veterans association, something that the president said would be resolved. >> we'll take care of our wounded veterans, it's not a prom. >> it's a sacred obligation.
as you come home, some of you will return to civilian life. we want to make sure you can enjoy the american dream that you helped defend. >> reporter: and, of course, president obama touching on another issue that is on the minds of many americans, and that is, in fact, that there is still the question of how many u.s. troops will remain in afghanistan after the scheduled drawdown at the end of the year. the number in question because of the absence of a signed agreement of bilateral security agreement between the united states and afghanistan. something that the president, v afghan president karzai will not sign, something that will allow for u.s. troops to remain under law. there's indication that the successors that will be selected in a run-off election said they would sign the agreement. with that comes the question of
numbers. president obama indicated in upcoming foreign policy speeches scheduled to take place that that number will become more clear. >> kimberley hawkin joining us live from washington. to talk about the numbers is jim walsh, research associate at the mit studies programme. it's a pleasure to have you with us. thanks for being with us this afternoon. >> good to see you. >> president obama said he's going to wind down the afghan war by the year's end. haven't we heard this before? >> i think that is going to happen - sort of. what do i mean by that? i think we'll have regular combat troops out. the president made it clear - assuming on agreement is signed and we have to wait and see if ta happens - assuming the bilateral agreement is signeded, we'll talk about troops whose focus will be training and counterterrorism, going after al
qaeda and affiliated troops. there'll be 5,000 or 10,000 troops in afghanistan, but they'll have a narrow focus and they won't be doing day to day security. that will be up to the afghan army and the troubled police forces. >> if he chooses to lead a small residual force in afghanistan, is that really a smart move. what is the end game here? >> well, you know, any time you get involved in this, getting out is a problem. you can imagine a situation where everyone just gets up and leaves, and then the thing falls apart. the afghans are not able to sustain it, and then - that doesn't look good. on the other hand you can't pour blood and treasure into afghanistan forever, we are here more than a decc amounted this is the -- decade. this is the compromise. >> we'll not keep it wol, but we'll keep enough there so that
al-qaeda or other terrorist groups that might plot attacks may find is difficult to set up a home base. that's the ugly middle. >> it's keeping terrorism in check. >> that's the major objective. training will have to end, but in terms of kinetic, guns fired, engaging the enemy, that'll be focussed on terror groups, not as afghans figure out what their future will be. >> let's go to one other point. the president is over there, but is not meeting with president karzai. what gives, is that the perfect time to iron things out. >> i think president obama has his fill with president karzai, he's not the first american president to feel a lack of relationship. plus they are having their run-off in a morningth there'll be a -- month. there'll be a new guy.
america doesn't want to get involved. i'm guessing president obama is done with karzai, he's a lame duck going out, and he doesn't want to deal with him if he doesn't have to. jim walsh joining us live from cambridge, always a pleasure despite months of unrest ukrainians cast their ballot for a new president. preliminary numbers suggest front runner petero poroshenko is the new leader. dana lewis joins us from kiev. if the polls are correct, and this is a landslide victory for the man known as the chocolate king. what has petero poroshenko done to capture the mind and heart of so many ukrainians? >> you have to look in general the way this election has been approached. they know political turmoil is not able to go on, with the east
being torn about. in many ways, petero poroshenko is someone who is palatable to the voters. he represents a lot of things that have been here, in terms of the economic union with europe, his ability that they believe he can stand up strongly, proudly and take on russia, and deal with the insecurity. when the early exit polls came out, it's clear the choice that they made - 55.9% in one exit poll in terms of voters that rallied behind him. another giving him 57%. his nearest rival had 12%. it was a landslide victory. he stood up and declared himself to be the new president here, and promised, i guess, three things - quickly - he'll move close to europe quickly, he will deal with the insecurity, meaning he'll build up the army and said to russia "it's time to start talking and talking to him." >> the thing that - if you want
to have a dialogue, that will be a direct dialogue with a legitimate president, just to solve the long list of problem we have between our countries. >> reporter: we visited a polling place today, and i was struck by the number of people that came out to this election, where we were normally in the morning it was quiet. it was jammed. we visited a two-storey school and people were lined up in the hallways anxious to vote. they had waited for two hours. we followed a young man who had been shot on the square knnd me, he -- behind me, he had to learn to walk and he voted proudly leaving his vote leads ukraine to a new and brighter future. >> reporter: this 25-year-old man has learnt to walk again and is lucky he's here to tell the story. he was filming the violent clashes in maydan.
he was shot at point blank range. here you see the camera moving as he was hit. doctors told him the bullet lodged a millimetre from his main artery. he voted, believing it will change ukraine for the better. >> it's the birth of a new nation. after this, everything will grow up, and we feel or power. the feeling that you are the first one, you are the first person in your life, and you can change everything. >> reporter: not coins departmentally it was announced -- coincidentally it was announced by the ukranian authorities that russia is finally pulling troops - after three weeks of promises - back from the border. positive news in the turmoil.
>> positive news that we have been waiting months to hear. thank you dana lewis live from kiev. the election included 35.5 million voters. in the self-reclaimed republics, 1.8 million are in lugansk. another 3.3 million are in donetsk, where senn out of 12 -- seven out of 12 polling stations were operating. in other areas voters were prevented voting in crimea, they could vote only if they kept their ukranian voting slips. is this the beginning of the end. a lot of referendums, the violence, takeover of government buildings led up to this election, now this it's over have the people stone, will the un -- spoken, will the unrest end. >> it looks like yes, petero poroshenko had a convincing win
among those that participated. as you know, some of the people could not participate because the polling places were closed. what we have not seen is how many in the east and south boycotted, and don't trust the authorities in kiev. nationwide, it means 25% [ inaudible ] >>. >> james, we are losing you on the skype connection. that was james from the minister institute in ukraine. thank you for being with us in europe there's another major election and voters are electing a new parliament for the european union. today is the fourth and final day of the vote. elections have taken place in seven e.u. member states. this is the first vote after years of economic crisis, rising unemployment and poor growth. surveys show the turn out is expected to be low, and election
results are expected later this afternoon. speaking of voting, columbians are headed to the polls, and this is the tightest presidential election columbia seen in two decade. it continues after peace talks, and after an offensive is stepped up to end a decades old war with f.a.r.c. the two candidates are juan manuel santos and oscar zuluaga. their campaigns have been marred with espionage and other drama the memorial day weekend is a time for relaxing and barbecues and a time to remember the men and women who served our country - including a 106-year-old who is the oldest living veteran. and next - peacing the tragedy in our coastal communities. you are watching al jazeera.
elliot rodger's guns were all legal despite a history of mental illness and multiple encounters with the police. ryan has the latest. what more do we know at this point? >> reporter: to give you an idea of the setting, we are in a main street of isla vista, in front of a deli cat esen where is victim was killed, and there are flowers, pictures of the victim 20-year-old chris martinez. we are waiting to learn the identity of three young men in an apartment complex. they were stabbed to death. we believe they were the room mates of elliot rodger. but the sheriff's have not identified them yet. there's sadness here, and some lingering frustration that elliot rodger, somebody who a
lot of people new had psychological problems, was able to get hold of the guns. we talked to a student across the street from the deli when the shooting happened. >> it was uncomfortable and makes me disappointed and sad because this is not like this. isla vista - everyone that lives here, it's sad when this stuff happiness. this kid, obviously, needed help or maybe... >> reporter: there are these two questions - one about elliot rodger's mental health. on april 30th his family knew he was having trouble and the sheriff's deputies were called to go to his apartment and see whether he needed to be committed, and the sheriff spoke more about that in detail today. >> told them that he was having social problems, and some school issues, and he probably was not
going to continue in school, and told them it was all a misunderstanding, that his relative and this other person took things the wrong way and he wasn't going to hurt anybody or himself, and he was able to convince the deputies that he was not a danger to himself or other people. >> reporter: that leaves the question why someone with obvious mental health problems was able to have three legally purchased hand gun and ammunition. he was never committed, he had medical help, that didn't hit a trip wire when he was checked for the purchase of the guns, so it was all legal. >> stepping a way from some of the more legal aspects of this, you said that his family knew he was having trouble. any word yet from the suspect's family? >> not directly from the
suspect's family. they have talked - or some family representatives talked to news outlets, friends, the family lawyer. we have not heard from the mother and father but sent out word that they are distressed about the whole situation - not only the loss of their son, but they are well aware that others lost children and say they feel horrible about it. >> one last thing - we are showing viewers youtube clips, videos that the suspect posted. take us back to how this began. what was the nature of the youtube videos. what was he saying. when i watched this yesterday, it was chilling, even the laughter at the end of the videos. what was he reacting to? >> well he was having terrible trouble with his social life. he was described as high functioning asperger's syndrome. he was striking out with the
girls. they didn't like him, he was frustrated about it. i don't think that was his only social problem. that was large in his mind. he told friend about it and posted about it on the internet. some of those postings triggered the mental health check by the sheriff's deputies in april. he posted more. in the last video titled a day of retribution, posted hours before the shooting ram page, and he said in that, and a written manifesto, that he planned to go to a sorority house, kill a lot of girls, hit the streets and kill as many people as he could. he was unable to get into the sorority house, but he did kill people in the streets. >> brian rooney, thank you for being was. meanwhile doctors say a man shot at a jewish museum in brussels is brain dead. he was severely wounded. all this news coming as belgium
police continued a search for the gunman. they released video showing a man walk into a museum, pulling out a rifle, open fire, turns around and poof, leaves. it's believed the gunman sped away from the scene in a war. in bangladesh children as young as nine can be criminally responsible for their actions and unfortunately the country's juvenile detention centers are not able to give younger children a chance at the better life always. >> reporter: this boy escaped from a juve nil detention center and is at a children's center. he doesn't have fond memories of his treatment at the detention center. >> translation: first they tie us up. they tie up hour hands, then our feet, and beat us with big sticks, really hard. >> this is a child improvement center.
children found guilty of crimes are found here, to serve their time. inside there's a badminton court. a playing field and a school. some of the children complain about being beaten and tortured. >> as one juvenile detention center, there were riots. the children were abused, and not set properly. a growing number tried to escape. this is the social welfare minister, the man in charge of the juvenile centers. >> they are high finance. it puts the boys attacking bus, giving money, 10,000 for burning a bus. >> reporter: an estimated 4 million children live on the streets of bangladesh, and they are prime target for drug dealers looking for cheap labour. the ministry has a difficult task. back at the shelter, this boy is nearly 18 and nearing the end of
his own journey. he is getting training to become a carpenter and hops to find a job. he'll have a shot at a normal life, one elusive for many of the children who go through bangladesh's juvenile justice system. pope francis is in israel today, and it is his last stop on his holy land tour. he made a number of religious stops, including to mt scopus in jerusalem. nick schifrin joins us leave from jerusalem. the pope said this would not be a political trip, but invited the palestinian and israeli president for talks at the vatican. can you tell us more about that? reporter: yes, this is a political statement by the pope. he did a few things. he was the first to land it
bethlehem in the west bank. his agenda talked about the state of palestine, meeting the head of the state of palestine is what his aide said, over israeli objections. so the palestinians feel what the pope did was an endorsement of their state. what the israelis feel they'll get tomorrow is a similar indoorsment. pope francis goes to -- endorsement. pope francis goes to mt hertzel and they say that visit is an endorsement of their right. something that the pope did not promise to be a political statement or trip, but it has become that. >> you mentioned endorsements, but his predecessors have been there before. what makes the trip to different and monumental? >> reporter: well, again, those two things - mt hert zel and flying into bethlehem for the
first time. both those things john paul did not do, pope benedict did not do. they knew or landed to israel before going to the west bank, and neither went to mt hert zel's tomb. those are the two things that both sides are trying to claim as endorsements for their narratives, endorsements for the version of this land that they want the world to consider. >> nick schifrin joining us live from jerusalem. thanks you for being with us. ahead of the world cup, brazil is making a huge invest. in security. >> we instruct them to be extremely careful to avoid incidents or scandals. next - ensuring the tournament goes smoothly for all concerned also, a land without a leader - political chaos in lebanon.
good afternoon to you. welcome back to al jazeera america, i'm morgan radford with the top stories. president obama made a surprise visit to afghanistan to spend memorial day with the troops. the president is expected to be briefed by military commanders and visit wounded service me on the bagram air base. there's 32,000 americans still serving in afghanistan. meanwhile - pope francis is in israel visiting several religious sites in jerusalem. israel is the last stop on his holy land tour. earlier he was in bth elliot rodgers where he pray -- bethlehem, where he prayed at the wall separating israel and west bank. >> ukranian business petero poroshenko declared victory and exit polls gave him more than 55% of the vote. petero poroshenko vowed to align his country with europe, and ind the conflict with pro -- end the conflict with pro-russian forces
in the east. egyptians vote for a new president next tuesday, and former army president abdul fatah al-sisi is expected to win. if he does, he'll be the latest in a longs line of military men to lead the country. we explore the role of military in pol suggests. >> reporter: in 2011 they overthrow an army general. three years later they are about to elect another one. egyptians are deeply divided over the role of the military in politics. >> translation: we don't want any political role for the army. its role is to protect, not to rule. >> reporter: but it's been over 60 years since the army got involved in politics after ending the monarchy. the first generation of leaders are seen as national war heroes, tasked with liberating palestine and ending the israeli
occupation. during the 30 year wall of hosni mubarak, perceived threats overtook external ones. he imposed decades of emergency laws and prepared his son to replace him. when the egyptians rose up to overthrow him they were able to distinguish between the despotic ruler and the average soldier seep as the defender of the nation. the army refused to crack down on protesters. the army was seen as a saviour. that situation didn't last. army leaders formed a military council to rule an open-ended transition and tried to clipping to power. a few -- clink to power. a few month later military police finally agreed to
elections. a president was elected. another general staged a coup a year later. this time popular support for the military was shown by one camp, including hosni mubarak supporters, secular egyptians and others from the muslim brotherhood. security forces opened fire on anti-coup protesters, killing several hundreds of them in cairo. abdul fatah al-sisi posed as a man that did not want power. that stance changed. >> translation: i announce my will to run for the egyptian presidency, and i would be honoured to have your support. >> abdul fatah al-sisi's candidacy and the security crackdown that proceeded it caused many to worry that a new chaster is a bad -- chapter is a bad start. abdul fatah al-sisi's supporters say this is the only solution for egypt at the moment. allegations of ballot
tampering in malawi, where they decided to recount the votes manually. the election commission said there were more votes than registered voters. current president joyce banda tried to nulify the elections, but the high court objected saying they didn't have the power. lebanon doesn't have a president. the previous president ended his term yesterday. we explain how the strange swaying came about mr suleiman's term ended. as he left the presidential pals - no one replaced him because neither of the two major coalition groups have enough votes in parliament to elect their own candidates. >> i urge the parliament and political bloc to elect a president and not have the dangers of a vacuum in the presidential post.
>> reporter: that is not likely to happen soon. it's not just mps who have a say on who will be the next president. neighbouring syria, voin, saudi arabia -- iran, saudi arabia, the u.s. have a say in running this small country. they are entangled in a tug of war reflected in lebanon through their respect iallies here. >> translation: small conflicts inside lebanon are tied to regional conflicts. when the renalingor shakes -- region shakes, so does lebanon. lebanon has to an extent been safe guarded from the war in syria. it has not helped to reach agreement on the new president. >> no one wants to succeed on who will be president, without looking at the series of issues, on who controls lebanon, who will be the next prime minister, and what deposit we'll have, what -- government we'll have,
or electoral law. >> reporter: for now, the presidential powers are in the hands of the prime minister. it's a government backed by regional players, giving some assurance that a minimum level of stability will be maintained. there is concern. >> maybe today there is regional consensus to keep lebanon quiet. what happens when things worsen. how will this impact lebanon and the chances to elect a new president. >> according to power sharing, the president should be a marron item christian. divisions contributed to the failure to elected a new president, adding to the christian's frustrations that they are being marginalized further in lebanon. despite the failure to elect a president, some lebanese point to turmoil over the arab world around them, and they are proud to have a president who is leaving office to go home, and in a celebratory ceremony, not a
bloody conflict. poland's last communist leader died at the age of 90, a controversial figure, he was a general who became the prime minister of poland in 1981. after, he declared marital law on the pro-democracy solidarity union, resulting in mass imprisonment of the political desdepartments and the solidarity union ousted him eight years later. he died in a war sawhospital offer suffering a stroke. a bombing shakes a city in nigeria, where three were killed, including the bomber. police say the suspect dropped a bag holding explosives near a crowded theatre. it comes four days after two car bombs exploded killing 130 in the same city. no one claimed responsibility, but authorities do suspect boko haram was behind the attack.
we are or two weeks from kick-off in the world cup in brazil, and to make sure everything goes smoothly authorities sent more than $2 million on security, and deploy 160,000 police officers. daniel schweimler has more. >> reporter: the security operation is in place in rio de janeiro, for the 2014 world cup. the biggest in the region's history. it's a similar story across the rest of brazil as the tournament looms. preparations are hampered by strikes and protests. >> translation: so there's a specific contingency plans for demonstrations if needed the security forces are going to act the way they have been. the way they have been may not be what the half a million or so visitors to brazil or the world cup organizers have in mine. the police engaged in what they called pacifying a fefala in
times for the tournament. security has been an issue, especially in the crime-ridden fefalas. the world is watching and we'll ask what happened here will be transferred to the rest of the country during the world cup. >> the tiny anti-world cup protest in the villa in rio de janeiro attracted hundreds of heavily armed police. why so many, i asked the officer-in-charge? he replied "to guarantee the safety of the protesters and ensure that traffic flows smoothly." >> police learnt a little from last year's experience with demonstrations, but not much. in this context of the world cup, they'll be instructed to be careful to avoid major incidents or scandals. >> this police training video shows demonstrations, what awaits them as they attack
authorities with their shoes. it may not plakate critics. >> life is not better. we have been spending a lot of money on infrastructure, and will not be using - there's a lot of corruption and frustration. how it will be expressed, we don't know. >> the many strikes and demonstrations in the weeks leading up to the world cup put the authorities on edge. they are reassuring the world that they are prepared for any eventuality while, at the same time, trying to show the welcoming face for which brazil is better known. joining me now from rio de janeiro is christopher gafney. visiting from an architecture school and university. $11 billion - that is what the government is suspending on the games what is behind the unrest? >> we have seen a growth of the
brazilian economy and the government made a lot of promises to the brazilian people that they haven't followed through on, and now they are spending 10, 11, $14 million. they have been able to deliver. what people in brazil are seeing is a loft of - we are having a little discomfort with the fact that the brazilian government is completing promises to f.i.f.a. 12 of the stadiums are not finished being built. there are other infrastructure issues, so where is this money doing. >> a lot of stadiums are done, and f.i.f.a. has hospitality requirements and details that they need to sort out with the host cities. a lot of the transportation projects haven't been done, a lot of communications have not been readied for the world cup.
it's ready to host a tournament, something that brazilian cities do is host the games. it's not all ta complicated to host a world cup. we see all the money going to civil construction firms, those that dominate money. $14 billion is not trickling down, but every time money moves between the federal and state and city governments and goes to the construction firms, a lot sticks when the hands pass. we have active corruption, passive corruption and a lot of delays scheduled into the projects because as you get closer to the event you need to put more workers on the jobs, cost increase, and they are passed on. >> civil construction, but on the other hand, from a business perspective, we haven't talked about the tourism, and they are bringing funds to rio. will that be a mitigating factor to calm the anger?
>> well, i don't think so, because when we look at the number of tourists that are expected in brazil, we'll see the same that we have every month of the year. brazil receives between 6-700,000 foreign visitors, and has between 500 and 600,000 for the world cup. it's keeping with the same rhythm of visitors. true they may stay longer, spend more money, relative to the size of the brazilian economy, the economic impact of the world cup will be almost nil. >> if we look ahead, brazil is preparing to host the olympics in 2016. the international olympic committee last month, the vice president called brazil's preparations the worst he's experienced. does brazil face losing the opportunity to host the olympics? >> i don't think that brazil will have the opportunity to lose the olympics. it will be a geopolitical nightmare on the international
stage, that neither the ioc nor brazil wants to get into. what we see from the ioc is a hedging of bets, because they are the mostly interested in protecting its brand, sponsors, and the image of the ioc. they realise things are not going according to the ioc schedule, and are blaming rio. they are reacting to this by blaming the ioc, saying this is a colonialist perspective on the way things happen with brazil. the criticisms happen every time the olympics happen, every time the world cup happens. it's part of the existential conditions. delays, cost overruns, security concerns. when the ioc comes out and says these things, they are reflecting their own desires for the city, and not attending to the demands that we have in brazil, which is to have better schools, hospitals, transportation and san tags. if the ioc is complaining, or
saying in the international media - brazilian cities have 30% sewerage coverage, then they are talking about something we have a conversation about. when they complain about the canoeing and swimming venues, that's a discussion that a lot of brazilians are not interested in having. >> they are blaming brazil for the ebb and flow of a worldwide event. professor gaffney, thank you for being with us today. al jazeera has been taking a look at some of the problems with the american criminal justice system. it's called "the system" with gentlemen berylinger. part two areas tonight, focussing on mandatory sentences and the case of a father september to prison for 20 years -- sent to prison for 20 years for firing a warning shot to protect his daughter. >> i tried to do the right thing for the right reason, no matter the consequences.
that i can live with. >> when i saw the condition that my husband was in, and the fact that he resigned himself to spending 20 years in prison for shooting a hole in a wall - i went from being sad and depressed to being angry. i think the system has failed me. you can catch "the system" with joe berlinger tonight. still ahead on al jazeera america - at 108 years old, she's smoking cigars and drinking whiskey. >> every morning i sweep my driveway, that's my exercise. got to keep the muscles going. a story of america's oldest veteran.
so this is rolling thunder. the annual tradition when hundreds of motorcycle riders in washington d.c. pay respects to pows on memorial day weekends. it brungs motorcyclists to the capital paying tribute to those at war and missing in action. those of you not working are probably concerned about the weather for those barbecues. for that we turn to meteorologist rebecca stevenson. >> some folks are getting great weather, some not so much. strong storms across the south-west, and new rain moving to parts of the north west. in washington state we see the rain coming across olympic mountains, down to northern oregon, and slowly into the
valley, impacting part land and sail -- salom and eugene. we are getting rain, hail and risks of storms. otherwise the concern for strong weather will be back in texas. some of the same spots have storms last night. we'll get them again, and into central texas up into parts of oklahoma. those storms really just beginning to rip out. as we go into the day tomorrow for memorial day, expect severe weather potential to be a little further to the east. as we look at what is happening to the south-west, we have been getting snow. the concern is the rain starts to come heavily down through the valleys, snow levels at 10,000 feet. it's below that. we can have flash flooding and the lower valleys.
the wig big area is keeping the temperatures 5-10 degrees below normal. it's in the cooler side of parts of new mexico. it will stay cooler as we get to the cost of california. heat is pumping up again and we'll get hotter temperatures here getting close to the tripple digit mark. speaking of warmth, east coast, you'll have a beautiful memorial day weekend, and to the north-east temperatures soaring to the 80s. lots of sun shine, but we'll get a cool down. this is the kind of cool down, back door cool downs like the button panel on the pyjamas there. it will feel cool as the breeze comes in, and as we talk about the storms coming back into texas, we'll have the risk of flooding from austin into dallas, getting a risk of
thunder storms as we get into the next holiday monday. cooling down and heating up. i like it. observinger memorial day with a -- observing memorial day with a trip back in time. hundreds gathered in austin texas for a world war ii re-enactment. the demonstration focussed on battles between american gis and germans, using items like small arms and radio equipment. rich areaed overton was 26 when he went to war. he spent three years in the south pacific fighting the japanese. he's the oldest living american veteran and we talked to him about his experiences in war and peace. >> if you are looking for richard overton. this is where we find him on his porch with a cigar in hand. >> i don't inhale them.
>> by early afternoon all his household chores are kun. >> every morning i sweep my driveway. that's my exercise. got to keep your muscles going. >> overton is the oldest living world war ii veteran, he turned 108 years young. >> i been shot at. cutting limbs off the top of your head, around the side. but never hit. >> overton doesn't like to spend time talking about his time in service. >> the more you tell, the more it comes to you. >> reporter: as for what he believes kept him alive when many perished. >> that's god's business. god wasn't shooting at you. >> that's what we owe veterans. >> president obama honoured overton in remarks at the arlington cemetery last veterans day. >> i want to tell you about mr obviouser top cials he was at
pearl harbour when the bat ships were smouldering... >> overton got to meet the commander in chief. >> there was a lot of stuff i wanted to talk to him about. but he's in a hurry. >> reporter: overton witnessed a great dal of change, including times when white people were hesitant to act with black. >> there's more white people want to be my friend than blackment they are there now. come and make themselves at home. >> reporter: as to what he credits to long evidenty. >> it gets in your system and weakens your body. >> he never had children. he's been married twice but his wife passed 20 years ago. he came from a big family. >> six systems and all brothers - they were all dead. >> he spend most days enjoying
his own company. he is not opposed to getting married again, but she must be age appropriate. >> that age must be around 90. finding someone at that age able to keep up with him... >> she'll do some of the work i do. >> might just be too great of a challenge. if you are age appropriate at 90 years old, be call to call mr richard overton. at 106 meself nine years younger than the oldest person, 115 years old. she takes care of herself and lives with her 76-year-old daughter. the only person older is a japanese woman 116 years eem. in a place torn by fighting we find the truth - happiness it
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♪ because i'm happy ♪ clap along ♪ if you feel ... happiness is the truth for a group of activists in yemen. they are called support yemen and are trying to bring about nonviolent change. the video for "happy" has a lot of people copying his moves. but this one struck us as being unique. our correspondent courtney kealy is here to tell us about that. what is behind the video? you did some digging. what did you find? >> i've been to yemen, loved yemen and was thrilled to see the city. i reached out to producers, directors and the co-director told me the first time he heard the song was around oscar time. he went online and realised it was a global phenomenon and he needed yemen to be part of it.
>> i think yemenis people needed to smile. >> this man co-directed the video. >> i like most of the parts. my favourite is the candle scene. [ ♪ music ]. >> reporter: the directors make fun of the power cuts. hussain skyped with us. like the rest of sanaa on saturday, he was in the dark. he managed to smile. i'm using my phone to - just being creative so you can see me. >> reporter: he wanted to show a different side of yemen saying the world only hears bad news. >> in yemen we live in a bad situation, we have crisis after crisis. no electricity, you know, and all the news that going around, going around is just - we have to be somehow we have to maintain this spirit.
we have to, you know survive. >> reporter: the old city of sanaa is a key location. >> we shared ideas and one is he has friend looking like ferrell williams, let's have a yemeni ferrell williams look alike, and that's how we had the idea. >> reporter: this woman helped to support the video, organise locations and find the characters, fokking on whim -- focussing on women, like a popular talk show host "tea with milk." >> she's a well-known female rapper in the underground scope in yemen. she - basically when she feels comfortable, she doesn't wear, and when she walks around the street she is comfortable not to we are it. there are women in traditional
clothing. before the '70s, women didn't wear the hajib, they wore beautiful colours, dresses and scarves around their bodies. >> 11-year-old sada showed up in her high tops after her mum heard about the casting call on facebook. despite the joy, the situation is still very unstable. >> it's been tense, very tense lately. especially because of the military offensive that has been happening in the south. it's no longer in the south now. >> reporter: even with hardships and trouble, she wanted to show that there was a group of yemenis hopeful who managed to be happy. >> reporter: yemeni is bringing a little joy. it's a favourite. >> i love the candle scene, tongue in cheek. >> and the skype - he was skyping without electricity. we managed to get - he used a cell phone to light up his face,
great. because you could see the smile. >> thank you so much. i'm morgan radford, "america tonight" weekend is up next. stay tuned to al jazeera. on "america tonight" the weekend digs, the truth about false confessions. sara hoy with an indepth look at people that said they did it, when they said they didn't. >> no blood, fibres, hair, bullet traces - not a shred of physical evidence. >> why would anyone confess if they weren't guilty? >> not knowing the law, of course, i said well i'll tell them what they want to hear, i can prove it was